PDI Blog

PDI's Blog will include legislative news, economic development news headlines, messages from our PDI President and other topics contributed by our membership. Choose from the list of contributors and categories, listed to the right,  to find the type of articles you are interested in.

The Cedar Vally to seek Skilled Iowa Community Distinction

The Cedar Valley recently pledged its commitment to becoming a Skilled Iowa Community, the first Iowa community to seek this distinction.

This move signals that the Cedar Valley, which includes the Waterloo-Cedar Falls metro area, is dedicated to growing a skilled workforce.

The Skilled Iowa Community initiative encourages local workers to earn a National Career Readiness Certificate, or NCRC.  This certificate highlights a worker’s skills and abilities to hiring businesses, helping them hire the right workers with the right skill sets. 

The Skilled Iowa Initiative also includes local high schools and community colleges in the effort to grow a labor pool that is ready to fill current and future positions.  By partnering with these outlets, individuals have the opportunity to gain the skills that will be required in their upcoming careers. 

But it’s not just younger workers who benefit from the program. Workers of all skill levels are necessary for the success of a dynamic workforce in any community, and Skilled Iowa intends to support and develop the skills of these workers to better serve the local economy.

The initiative aims to have 10 percent of businesses in a Skilled Iowa Community endorse the program by promoting the National Career Readiness Certificate and hiring certified workers. Another goal for a Skilled Iowa Community is having 5 percent of the current labor force earning an NCRC, making it a desirable place for businesses to locate or expand.

Skilled Iowa urges all communities in the state to take part in this program by encouraging the use of the NCRC by both workers and employers. Visit www.skillediowa.org to learn more about becoming a Skilled Iowa Community.

Follow Skilled Iowa on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SkilledIowa for the latest updates.

Written by PDI
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Benefits Change to High Quality Jobs and Enterprise Zones Programs

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Board has recently acted to change the benefit requirements for businesses to be eligible for direct financial assistance and tax benefits through the High Quality Jobs and Enterprise Zones Programs. The proposed requirements have been modified to more accurately reflect current market conditions.

Benefits specialist firm, David Lind and Associates, conducted the Iowa Employer Benefits Study. The study is a compilation of benefit plans offered by over 950 Iowa employers and provides a comprehensive marketplace analysis of benefits. The results of this study were utilized to help develop and enact the new policy that reflects “best practices” and the changes we’ve seen in the benefit trends.

The following is a brief overview of the changes that have taken effect January 1, 2013:

  • Requires only medical coverage. The requirement for dental coverage has been eliminated.
  • Three deductible levels have been established, each based on the total number of Iowa employees at time of application:

A 250+ Iowa employees

B 50-249 Iowa employees

C 2-49 Iowa employees

To be eligible to receive state financial assistance or tax credit benefits, applicants must offer sufficient benefits to each FTE permanent position. “Sufficient benefits” and “sufficient benefits credit” are defined in rule 261—173.2(15,15G,83GA,SF344). An employer may select one of the following options to meet the sufficient benefits requirement:

Option 1

80% Single Coverage

Option 2

50% Family Coverage

Option 3 

 Monetary Equivalent

Pay 80% of premium costs for a standard medical plan, single coverage.

A - $750 maximum deductible (250+)

B - $1,250 maximum deductible (50-249)

C - $1,750 maximum deductible (2-49)


Pay 50% of premium costs for a standard medical and dental plan, family coverage.

A - $1,500 maximum deductible

B - $2,500 maximum deductible (50-249)

C - $3,500 Maximum deductible (2-49)

Provide medical and pay the  monetary equivalent of Option 1 or Option 2 in supplemental employee benefits.


Benefits Counted Toward Monetary Equivalent

  • Medicl coverage
  • Dental coverage
  • Vision insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Pension
  • 401(k) (company's average contribution)
  • Short-/long-term disability insurance
  • Child care services
  • Other nonwage compensation


Written by PDI
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Heartland Economic Development Course Scholarship for Community Service

Heartland EDC’s Scholarship for Community Service is a tuition scholarship awarded annually to one community volunteer involved with local economic development initiatives in rural communities or urban neighborhoods. To be eligible, volunteers must reside in Heartland’s partner states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma. The scholarship for Community Service application must be completed and submitted no later than February 28, 2013 to be considered for the April 2013 course.

This scholarship is for tuition only (valued at $595). Recipients must pay for their own lodging and Heartland Meal Package. Heartland’s early registration deadline is March 22, 2013. Lodging reservations must be made by April 5, 2013. Please visit http://www.bcs.uni.edu/heartland/ for more information. Volunteers being awarded tuition scholarships from their respective state development association or utility provider are ineligible to receive The HEDC Scholarship for Community Service.

The Scholarship for Community Service recognizes the long-standing contribution of Dr. Jerry Wade to the Heartland EDC. He was the Assistant Course Director from the course’s inception in 1985 to 1995. In 1995, he became the Course Director until 2000, when the LaDene Bowen, CEcD became director. In addition to his involvement with Heartland, Dr. Wade was Associate Professor of Community Development and State Community Development Specialist at the University of Missouri until his retirement in 2000. His career has been devoted to helping communities build their future through volunteer service and creating opportunities for upgrading professional skills in development through the Heartland Economic Development Course and the Community Development Academy at the University of Missouri. The tuition scholarship reflects Dr. Wade’s dedication to providing the resources and tools necessary for economic and community developers to help strengthen and improve the communities they serve.

REMINDER: PDI provides scholarships for the Heartland Economic Development Course each year. The applications process information can be found at www.pdiowa.com/ Resource Tab – deadline is March 23.

Written by PDI
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Presidential Post - PDI Offers Workforce Summit

The PDI Workforce Summit will be held on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Des Moines Area Community College - Ankeny Campus. Registration information will be available soon....

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Written by Brent Willett
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2013 BRE Award Applications Being Accepted

PDI will recognize communities for business retention and expansion (BRE) successes at SMART Conference...

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Written by PDI
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